SLOVENIA SOCCER FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFICATION.jpg
England's Theo Walcott (L) in action against Slovenia's Matic Crnic (R) during the Qualification soccer match for FIFA World Cup 2018 between Slovenia and England in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 11 October 2016.
Photograph: EPA/ANTONIO BAT

Joe Hart's heroics preserved England's 0-0 draw against Slovenia in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The England goalkeeper produced three top-notch saves on a night his side were second-best in Ljubljana.

Hart twice came off his line after Slovenia players were played through and came up with a stunning save against Jasmin Kurtic, who earlier had hit the post. 

The draw keeps England top of Group F on seven points, two clear of Lithuania and Slovenia. 

"It was an interesting game and 0-0 we're going to have to take it,” Hart, who is on loan at Torino after losing his starting place at Manchester City, told ITV.

“It's my best game for a while. I was asked to do quite a bit but it was down to a few errors from us.

“We're a young team and we've dug in and taken a point in an intense atmosphere.

“On the night it's a difficult result but we've got to look at the bigger picture - we're trying to qualify for Russia.”

Slovenia were nearly gifted an opener in the 10th minute as Eric Dier's errant backpass sent Roman Bezjak through on Hart, who charged out to make the save.

The ball went out to Kurtic and his shot from the edge of the area rattled off the far post.

England then started to control possession but lacked finish as the teams went to half-time.

Slovenia came out of the dressing room on the front foot and only the quick reflexes of Hart kept them from taking the lead.

The England keeper first palmed out a deflected shot from a corner before producing a wonder save by pushing Kurtic's header onto the crossbar with his left hand then clearing the ball away with his right.

After Dele Alli recorded England's first shot on target in the 56th minute, Hart once again came to the rescue by denying Josip Ilicic, who was sent through by Jordan Henderson's ill-timed backpass.

Wayne Rooney, who was dropped to the bench by interim manager Gareth Southgate, came on in the 73rd minute as England started to show a bit of late life.

Danny Rose and Rooney both shot wide while Slovenia keeper Jan Oblak saved from Daniel Sturridge and Jesse Lingard as the teams shared the points.

"The overall objective is to qualify so long term that could be an important point,” Southgate said.

“Everyone can see we could be better but their chances came from our mistakes or set-pieces.”

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